I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came upon me; I was overcome by trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, save me!”
Psalm 116: 1-4
I don’t think I prayed so much as I did last Monday! I was thankful I wasn’t doing the bungee jump for every second that they were. It must’ve felt so unnatural throwing yourself off a tower jutting out over the Nile, although some seemed more confident than others….. unfortuantly our video footage doesn’t capture their expressions but the screaming gives it away! Sam went first and even went for a submersion into the Nile at the bottom which Tom did too (Tom was last to jump). Jon was next and was the only one who went feet first…. he was all over the shop and even flipped upside down at one point. Sarah was first from the girls and couldn’t stop talking the whole time she was getting ready. Becca looked like it really didn’t bother her and said she felt very relaxed as soon as she’d jumped (?). Rosie screamed far louder than anyone, but Freya screamed on and off every time the rope slackened!
Ruth, Dave, Mark and me were saving our energy (and our nerves) for the white water rafting…. I said I’d never do this again.
The team split into 2 groups (boys and girls) which seemed a bit crazy at first considering all the energy paddling takes out of you, but I think the girls proved themselves…. Most probably helped by the fact our instructor was far more experienced than the boy’s instructor.
We had 2 girls from Winchester join us and the boys had 2 Americans join them so was nice to meet some new people.
I think what us girls will remember the most was going backwards over a 3metre waterfall, and beating the boys by managing to paddle across a current to enable us to go on a grade 4 rapid instead of a grade 3…. Hmmm, don’t think we thought that through properly do you? We were all celebrating when we’d crossed the current when suddenly we saw the rapids looming towards us and only then wondered why we had been so desperate to go down that one! We envitabley flipped over and quite a few of us were under the boat for a bit = not such a nice experience although there is an air pocket right in the middle… if you can find it!
For the last rapids, I opted to go in the safety boat (with big oars to balance it and a guy called Tutu (??) who is a bit of an expert). I’ve been down these rapids before and knew what was coming… also they have named it “Washing machine” which I would say describes it perfectly.
The boys went down ahead of the girls so I managed to see them both go through and no one fell in… except our instructor Jeffrey who did a cheeky backflip out of the boat when he knew they were through the worst! What was funny was the girls reaction when they noticed he wasn’t in the boat and they couldn’t see him anywhere! ;)
I’ve decided that I’d far prefer to row/canoe down a river without any crazy rapids ;) The best time of the day was just after lunch (which we had on an island in the middle of the river), when we took it very easy as there were lots of flat areas of water. The currents were still strong enough in places to take you along, so we jumped out of the boat and got carried alongside the boat! Because of our lifejackets it was possible to lean back and not do any work…. officially one of the best time of my life.
I don’t know how the others made it through school the next morning…. Well, Freya did confess to catching up on a bit of sleep between lessons ;)
Also, Mark went off to the airport before breakfast to pick up Chris Ashton who has come to visit us for a week (Chris works with Mark back in the UK). So this week we have done a lightning tour of the 3 schools so Chris can see them all… on Wednesday we went to Kitti in the morning (and heard a very clear evangelistic talk from Dave to the older kids), and then Glory for Education in the afternoon. I won’t write any more about Kitti this time as I did that last time I wrote a blog entry…. So I’ll tell you about Glory and Children’s Corner (which we visited on Friday morning).
We turned up at Glory just in time for lunch (having ordered in advance as we know their food is the best… masala potatoes and red beans). The kids aren’t quite as crazy at Glory, maybe that’s because there is less of them. The school is slap bang in the middle of no-where. The minibus struggles to get down the road (even with Paul’s expert driving) because of the crazy gullies that have been formed by the rain…. If it rains too much the dirt becomes an impassable mudslide so Freya, Sam and Jon have sometimes had to walk part of the way.
Communication with the other teachers has noticeably improved and the team are obviously getting on really well with Jessie the DOS (Director of Studies), Agnus the teacher for primary 1 +2 (together!) who doesn’t stop smiling and is very willing to stay in the class to translate, which the younger years need), and Felix (the teacher for primary 4) who’s favourite phrases are “isn’t it?” and “look at this one, he is stupid”.
I sat in on a music lesson with Freya as she taught P2 how to sing “Old MacDonald”, “Twinkle twinkle little star”, and “One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Once I caught a fish alive”. She wrote the words on the blackboard and then got the kids to read through the words with her first, then she sang each line of the song and they had to repeat it back to her (this was repeated a few times as they didn’t know the tune at all). Then Freya would give us the first note on her flute which we then laaaa’ed back to her. We soon found out that when we asked them to sing loudly they almost screamed it, so we got them to start off laaa’ing quietly and then crescendo’ing on the same note. Freya asked me to help out with this bit, but I must’ve subconsciously risen up on my toes, elongated my fingers and widened my eyes with each crescendo, as when we got the kids to copy they all did exactly then same back to me…. Slightly embarrasing! ;)
After having exercised my vocal chords, I was all set to learn some more amazing facts from Jon’s lesson. Last time I sat in on a lesson of his I learnt that the Nile is 695km long and it takes 3 months for the water at the source to reach the sea… how much of a swot am i? They are used to learning through repetition though so I couldn’t really help but remember it…. This time though I wasn’t so lucky as I only caught the 2nd half of his English lesson where he was only marking books! Sam’s SST lesson (“SST is social studies, it teaches us more about ourselves and our surroundings!”) taught me that East Africa is made up of 3 countries (Uganda being the smallest), then Kenya, and Tanzania being the largest. Paul informed me on the way home that Rwanda and Burundi want to become part of East Africa too… something to do with not wanting to speak French…. still, would it open the floodgates to a whole tidal wave of other countries wanting to join East Africa? Would the continent become lopsided and fall into the sea???
Friday wasn’t a very typical day to visit Children’s Corner as they had a sports day going on at another school which we joined for the afternoon. Because of this though, some of the teachers had left their classes unsupervised – so Tom took the initiative of setting up a debate for all 3 unsupervised classes. The 1st topic was “Are boys and girls equal?” which made for a heated debate but not particularly well thought out points! The 2nd topic was “100 years ago vs. modern living” which I think they had learnt about as they came up with some really interesting points…. We learnt that people used to cut their hair with stones, and instead of phones they used to communicate with drums! At the same time Becca and Ruth took an RE lesson (which I have sat in on before but didn’t go in this time as the kids get very easily distracted by new people).
The director (who is a government minister aswell!) got her driver to drive us to the sports field where some of the kids from Children’s Corner were competing against about 6 other city schools in an athletics competition. What was disturbing was that even when the kids fainted due to exhaustion/the heat/lack of food (as they didn’t eat lunch until 3:30) …or all of the above, they were patched up and sent back onto the field to compete again. What I didn’t see but Becca was telling me later, was that the kids who didn’t compete weren’t allowed food at all…. Even though they were all told they had to attend.
They did quite a number of races, but also javelin, shot put and high jump. What was funny about the last 3 was that before each one they’d give them a quick lesson/recap of how to do each event… as they prob don’t have the equipment at their own school or have any chance to practise it.
Anyway, eventful week, lets hope this weekend is calmer ;) We’re off to Murchison Falls next weekend so we hope you all have a fab Easter if we don’t speak to you beforehand!